O´Connell Street, Dublin
O'Connel Street is the main street in Dublin. It is named after Daniel O'Connell (b. 1775 - d 1847), who is known as 'the Liberator' for his work in liberating the Roman Catholics in Ireland. At the end of O'Connell St., near the O'Connell St Bridge, there is a monument to O'Connell.
Today O'Connell St is one of the busiest streets in Dublin. There are numerous shops (including many souvenir shops), restaurants and pubs along this street. Buses are a frequent sight, as is the Luas (which is like a tram, but a very modern one, but the Luas just crosses over O'Connell St, it does not go up it).
I'm not sure however if I like the Millenium Spire, which is situated in the middle of the street. It is a very tall spike, and I can remember my first words when seeing it as "Ouch!!" - it just looked like it could hurt someone (not that I could see anyone being up high enough for them to be pricked by the spike, but it still brought an image of pain). Admittedly the Spire did look nicer at night when it was lit up. But I'm still not really sure if I liked it or not.
The population of Ireland dwindled from 8 million people to 4 million after the days of the Great Famine of 1845 to 1849. Over 1 million people died outright from the famine, most of whom could have been spared had England intervened. Instead of sending food to a starving land, insensitive and opportunistic politicians of the time chose to capitalize on tragedy and willfully withheld aid. Rather than prevent starvation, the ruling government took Irish land when either its rightful owners died or could not pay the imposed taxes. Millions of Irish died, lost their land and property, and fell into oblivion. I love England I will state right here, but this was not one of her shining moments.
In the second half of the nineteenth century the main concern of the Irish people was their land and the fact that they had no control over its ownership. Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891), an Irish born protestant Member of Parliament under England's Prime Minister Gladstone (circa 1880-1846) rose to their defense.
Fondest memory: He worked against the ruling Landlord class for Home Rule and very effectively used the parliament to peacefully attain the Land Acts, greatly improving overall Irish conditions.
There were two setbacks however. First was the stabbing deaths in Phoenix Park, Dublin of the British Chief Secretary of Ireland and his Under-Secretary. The other, a few years later, was the publication of Parnell's romantic affair with a married Katie O'Shea. His political enemies capitalized on this affair and brought the Irish press to their side. He was forced in disgrace from office in 1889 by the very people he had so gallantly supported.
Parnell married Katie O'Shea after her divorce, but died (probably of shame) October 6, 1891 at the age 45, in Brighton England. As is customary with almost all on our planet, it's usually only after a great person's death that we recognize his or her achievements. So it was with Charles Stewart Parnell. 150,000 people turned out in Dublin for his funeral procession to Glasnevin Cemetery.
In his last speech in Kilkenny in 1891 he said: 'I don't pretend that I had not moments of trial and of temptation, but I do claim that never in thought, word, or deed, have I been false to the trust which Irishmen have confided in me'.
The quotation on his statue at the junction of O'Connell Street and Parnell Street in Dublin City Centre (shown here) states:
'No man shall have the right to fix the boundary to the march of a Nation'
The city of Dublin commemorates Charles Stewart Parnell in two places: Parnell Square, part of the Garden of Remembrance, and the Parnell Monument on O'Connell Square, ( this photograph) at the intersection of O'Connell and Parnell Streets.
October 6 has become Ivy Day in Ireland, where his following commemorates the great man's achievements by wearing a sprig of ivy on their lapels.
Standing just at the northern end of main O'Connell Street looking towards the north east at Charles Stewart Parnell 's monument in O'Connell Square. The monument was designed by architect Henry Bacon and unveiled October 1st, 1911.
Parnell Square where you would expect to find this monument is actually a bit to the northwest from here near the Garden of Remembrance.
And what you will have noticed if you have sharp eyes are the bullet holes in these angels, the results of shots fired on the English troops from the GPO.
Look closely at the direction of penetration of these holes and you can surmise that some roof top defender at theb GPO tried to pick off running troops as they scurried for cover. He was probably moving his rifle along with the target and hit a very innocent bystander, who bears her scares of that terrible time to this very day. Go back to the first angel two frames up and you will see the bullet hole in her arm. This poor girl caught hers in a very sensitive spot.
I'll only show details of the monument in my pages, except for any errant panaramic photos that may include it. What I will show of the monument in the next three slides are a few interesting details.
Fondest memory: There are four angels near the base of the monument. Here is one:
At the beginning of O'Connell Street, somewhat across from the GPO and alongside facing the Liffey, is the monument of the great man himslef, Daniel O'Connell, who truly deserves the title of Architect of Ireland's independance.
Being an architect myself, I am usually against applying the title to anyone who has not completed the education and licensing requirements to earn the name architect. In Daneil O'Connell's case however, the man more than deserves access to this title as well as many, many others.
Fondest memory: He strove his entire professional life for the peaceable independance of Ireland. Independance for the island did not come peacfully of course, but this man never gave in and maintained his desire and focused his efforts on peaceful attainment. Perhaps it didn't work as he wanted, but he served as the standard all Ireland wished and hoped for, and that in itself makes the man great. Sometimes you can't achieve the things you strive for, but you can maintain your standards for them, and Daniel O'Connel ensured that the standard was firmly implanted in Ireland's psyche. He truly was a great man.
OK, so we are now on mighty O'Connell Street. There's is a lot of history to O'Connell street, not the least of which was its inception several centuries ago as a speculation by one of the city's great land developers who took a chance with a novel, new idea to expand across the Liffey into the north. The gamble worked and he made a ton of money.
The city also had its famous revolution centered here, sited at the General Post Offie. There are zillions of GPO exterior photos to be had on VT, so I'll spare you the tedium and present only a selected few that may actually interest you.
Thebuilding still sevvesits intended purpose, as a post office. You can buy stamps and other posting merchandise, you can mail letters...........
And now to cross the Liffey into the north side. There is a vast difference bewteen north and south Dublin in the minds' of its residents. South Dublin is considered to be more refined, educated, wealthier, more elitist than it's northern, working class neighbor. The north can be a little more earthy than the south in some areas perhaps, but I found both sides to be extremely fun and interesting, and could easily spend all day just as happy on either side.
Fondest memory: The epicenter of Dublin's commercial existence is O'Connell Street. Some locals will complain that it is too commercialized, too homogenized, with fast food and non Irish offerings. They're right, I suppose. I view O'Connell as a major thoroughare however, serving busline commuters to and from work. That seeems to be its primary purpose. As such, it's not too far off base to provide service conveniences geared towards fast delivery.
After spending all day at work, people are generally ready to relax at home as soon as possible. O'Connell Street therefore becomes that artery, with hords of people converged on its lanes for rush hour. It could be spruced up a bit, I agree, and there is a push in exactly that direction from what i could tell. She's not the same old girl she was in the early 20th century, but she's not so offfensive. Give her ten years and let's see how she trasnforms.
This photo is taken looking south down O'Connell. Just to the right of the spire is the Old Post Office, just to the left if you have good eyes is the statue of Daniel O'connel Himself, with the Liffey a stone's throw beyond that.
Favorite thing: Visit the busy centre of Dublin around O'Connell Bridge. It really is a vibrant and touristic area, but the statues and grand buildings of O'Connell Street are impressive (Take care of the traffic!). Moreover the river Liffey and Halfpenny Bridge are located here.
Favorite thing: O'Connell Bridge (and Street) - one of the widest in Europe, very busy all the time, with lots of hotels, restaurants, shops, and... cinemas! Just a bit further away there's a SAVOY cinema (watched Harry Potter and Lords Of The Ring there)
Favorite thing: This Christ figure is located at a taxi stand on O'Connell Street. It was put there and is maintained by the cabbies of Dublin.
Favorite thing: walk along the Liffey; as you continue, many of Dub's sights are located along or just off the river and it's along the quays that you experience the new Dublin, especially around O'Connell Bridge.